March 13, 1998

New leader set to take Department of Medicine reins

New leader set to take Department of Medicine reins

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Dr. Eric Neilson.

Dr. Eric G. Neilson, currently C. Mahlon Kline Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, has been named Hugh J. Morgan Professor of Medicine and chair of the Department at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Neilson takes over for Dr. John A. Oates Jr., who stepped down last year as chair of Medicine after 13 years at the helm.

Neilson, who will assume his new post on July 1, brings a wealth of experience to Vanderbilt, said Dr. Harry R. Jacobson, Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs.

"We are very pleased ‹ and very fortunate ‹ to have Dr. Neilson join the faculty. His leadership and vision will be invaluable. He will be a wonderful asset and we look forward to his contributions to the future of this medical center," Jacobson said.

Neilson also is looking forward to assuming his new role at Vanderbilt.

³We are very excited about moving to Nashville,² he said. ³It will be a great job because Vanderbilt has a wonderful Department of Medicine and wonderful leaders in the medical school, who have great plans to advance Vanderbilt as a medical center. I¹m thrilled to be a part of it.

³We want to continue to raise the department¹s visibility nationally ‹ both the institution¹s high standard of clinical practice and its impressive research status."

Neilson, who has been at the University of Pennsylvania for 23 years, is a graduate of the University of Alabama Medical School. For the past decade, he has served as chief of Penn's Renal-Electrolyte and Hypertension Division.

Neilson is a past winner of the President's Medal from the American Society of Nephrology as well as the Young Investigator Award and Prize from the American Society of Nephrology and the American Heart Association. He is a member of numerous professional and scientific organizations, including the International Society of Nephrology, National Kidney Foundation, American Federation of Clinical Research, and the Association of American Physicians.

Neilson's current research is directed toward several areas, including the molecular expression and regulation of the nephritogenic immune response, gene expression of matrix proteins in fibrogenesis, biochemical and molecular characterization of nephritogenic antigens, and molecular and cellular mechanisms of kidney development.

Neilson and his wife, Linda, have two children, Tinsley, 17, and Sigrid, 16.

Dr. John E. Chapman, Dean of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, said the addition of Neilson will further strengthen VUMC's ability to undertake the three primary endeavors of education, research and patient care.

"We are indeed very pleased that Dr. Neilson has agreed to join us here at Vanderbilt. The Department of Medicine is a key player in the successful implementation of the medical center's three-part mission.

"Dr. Neilson brings those personal, professional and leadership qualities to Vanderbilt that not only will sustain the high standards established by the Department of Medicine, but will lead the department to new heights as one of the country's best programs," Chapman said.

Lee E. Limbird, Ph.D., associate vice chancellor for Health Affairs, is also pleased with Neilson's appointment.

"We are very excited about Dr. Neilson's recruitment. He has articulated in a very thoughtful and visionary way what the Department of Medicine should look like in the next millennium.

"He also has a real clarity of meeting clinical needs and patient care while at the same time understanding what it takes to identify and nurture the clinician scientists who will make the bridge between clinical care and research," Limbird said.

Dr. James A. O'Neill Jr., John Clinton Foshee Distinguished Professor and Director of the Section of Surgical Sciences, headed up the effort to recruit Neilson.

"The thing that impressed the search committee and me was that he fits the definition of the way VUMC is moving. He is a superb, well-funded investigator and a marvelous clinical scientist. He has had heavy involvement in programs that deal with managed care. He is head of Penn's clinical practice plan.

"He's very strong as a leader. He is quiet, supportive, very smart and has a good sense of humor. I look forward to working with him," O'Neill said.